Making online video idiot-proof
This startup wants to make posting video on the Web as easy as e-mailing a photo.
SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0) - Posting photos to the Web has become as easy as sending e-mail, thanks to websites like Flickr and Picasa. But digital video, despite its growing prevalence online, is not yet as idiot-proof. VideoEgg has plans to change that.
On March 20, this startup will release its VideoEgg Publisher, an application that makes it easy for users to capture, edit, encode, and post digital video online, free to all comers.
Video out of focus
Easy online video is one of those technologies that has long been promised, but has always failed to materialize. Digital video files are large, slow moving beasts, and the right combination of tools to record, edit and broadcast video online has been missing -- until now. VideoEgg's publisher, as well as other video startups, are finally making quality online video accessible to everyone.
Bloggers eager to add video to their websites are one of the key target audiences for the technology, says co-founder Kevin Sladek. Blog-publishing software company Six Apart has already partnered with VideoEgg to offer the video service to bloggers who use its TypePad service. And a pilot program with eBay (Research) is in the works, Sladek says, to let add video to their auction listings.
"Personal profiles on dating sites or sites like MySpace are another obvious use for this," he adds. "But really, anyone who wants to put video on their site will now be able to."
VideoEgg's software includes a "universal adapter" that captures video directly from hundreds of cameras and mobile devices and reads dozens of formats. And it also allows the user to perform simple video editing. When the video's ready, it's encoded in Macromedia's (Research) Flash format, a common standard that plays in most Web browsers, and is uploaded to Akamai (Research) Web servers. (VideoEgg foots the bill for hosting the video.) Posting the video to a blog is a one-click process.
The startup hopes to make money by pairing the videos that its users create with related video advertisements that play when a video is viewed.
Video formats at odds
Recent Yale graduates Kevin Sladek, David Lerman and Matt Sanchez started VideoEgg in New Haven, Conn. in 2005, before relocating it to San Francisco late last year. Lerman, Sanchez, and Sladek had been working on a project to connect filmmakers with nonprofits that needed public-service announcements filmed. The trio had planned to send videos over the Internet for viewing and final edits.
But because different video cameras encode video differently, they found themselves unable to view much of what was sent to them. Instead, they had to resort to sending and receiving physical DV tapes through the mail to ensure that they could watch the films. To solve the problem, they developed the software that later became VideoEgg Publisher, and then realized it might have a larger audience.
Online video has become a very hot area of investment for venture capitalists. VideoEgg is jockeying for attention amidst a large crop of startups like Brightcove, Grouper, Revver, and YouTube. The startups are all taking different approaches to putting video online. While Grouper and YouTube are going after the "funniest home video crowd" in an effort to develop a destination site, VideoEgg is aimed at bloggers and others who are interested in having their video viewed from their own site, and not someone else's.
Not all the companies that have received funding are going to attract enough of a user base to survive. But video, after fits and starts, is finally becoming as much a part of our online experience as music and photos, opening up a big opportunity for any outfit that can make the production and consumption of video as easy as possible. If you buy that premise, then VideoEgg looks to be hatching a winner.
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